Women in Bastan Village, Kurdistan

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Issawiya: One More Village Victim of Israel's Takeover--Issawiya, East Jerusalem 112410

Last week I attended a tour in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. The meetingcalled by the Follow –up committee to expose to the public the situation on Issawiya. Hani Isawi and Sheikh Riad Isawi, of the Issawiya Follow-Up Committee, spoke about the history of the village and recent events in Issawiya and Jerusalem at large.

Over the past few weeks, Israeli military and police forces have entered Issawiya numerous times,demolishing structures, detaining residents and setting up flying checkpoints to target drivers and demand payment of outstanding municipal taxes and other bills.

Image Courtesy of AIC

Issawiya is located 2.5 km east of the Green Line and 3 km northeast of Jerusalem’s Old City. The village, located in the shadows of Hebrew University, straddles the Jerusalem border, situated between Mount Scopus, numerous Jewish settlements, the Ring Road and two Israeli military outposts.

In 2006, Issawiya had a population of approximately 12,000, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Together with the neighbouring Shuafat and the Shuafat refugee camp, Issawiya's land area (together known as the village of Issawiya) is 5,489 dunams.

Here are the issues exposed at the meeting and village tour:
- Annexation and division: Immediately after the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, Israel
divided Issawiya by illegally annexing 3,000 dunams to the Municipality of Jerusalem while designating the village’s remaining 7,000 dunams as being outside of the city and part of the occupied West Bank.

- Confiscation for settlement building: In 1968, the Israeli government confiscated 400 of the 3,000 East Jerusalem dunams of Issawiya land to build the settlement of Givat Shapira (French Hill). This strategic settlement connected Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital, located on Mt. Scopus, with the rest of West Jerusalem.

- Designation of "green areas" as tool of control: Additionally, Israel designated 2,000 of Issawiya’s remaining dunams as “green areas” on which construction is prohibited.

- The reality today is thus that the 12,000 residents of Issawiya, can legally build on only 600 dunams of their own land.

- Confiscation for road construction: The Ring Road, built to link Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem to each other and to West Jerusalem, was constructed on Issawiya’s land. 310 dunums of village land have also been used for Israeli by-pass roads (numbers 437, 60 and 1) that extend for a total length of 10 km, breaking up the village cluster and separating the village from its agricultural lands.

- E1 settlement bloc: A portion of Issawiya’s land in the West Bank has been slated by Israel for construction of the E1 settlement bloc. The development of this illegal settlement has been placed on hold due to consistent international pressure.

Israeli human rights violations in Issawiya, July 2010-present:

- Death: On 24 September, 18 month-old Mohammed Abu Sneneh died from tear gas inhalation, after Israeli police officers fired large amounts of the gas at protesters in the village.
- Demolitions: Israel has demolished at least 16 structures and homes in Issawiya since July 2010 to date, including livelihood-related and residential buildings.
- Harm to environment: Over 440 trees have been uprooted.
- Raids, detentions, closures, roadblocks: In October-November 2010, Israeli police and soldiers raided Issawiya at least 8 times, detaining some 10 residents, setting up road blocks in the village entrance and targeting residents for allegedly unpaid municipal taxes and utilities.

The facts were taken from several articles from the Alternate Information Center and the tour sponsored by AIC. More information about the situation in Issawiya can be found on AIC website.


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